The Wallflower Photography Blog


Way back in 2008, when we decided to completely revamp our album offerings, we went to a major tradeshow for wedding and portrait photographers in Las Vegas, and checked out every album company there. Our goal was to make sure that no one would have better albums than us. Our final choice was PictoBooks, out of Maryland. All these years later and they continue to impress and amaze us!

PictoBooks offers a wide variety of different album lines, but nearly all of them share a few key features. They have rigid pages that open 180 degrees to form a flat surface with just a thin vertical crease to separate the left and right pages. A single large sheet of professional photographic paper, laminated for protection from fingerprints, is used for each two-page spread. Photos and photo layouts can span the center crease and stretch from edge to edge on all four sides. The popular 10×10 inch size opens up to a big 20×10 inch spread! We do all the page designs ourselves, with our clients selecting the photos, choosing between our two design styles, and then reviewing the layouts, with us implementing any changes they want before their book is published. PictoBooks albums are all sturdily constructed with high-quality materials and craftsmanship appropriate for a family heirloom album that must withstand many years of enjoyment.

The biggest difference between the different PictoBooks album series is in the cover options, which range from faux leather and suede materials on the low end (in the popular Bijou series) to embossed genuine leathers, metals, woods, and even gold and diamonds on the high end. There are also a few differences in size options and construction methods between the various album series, and some options cost more than others. We can provide a PDF of our product catalog with all the pricing info to our clients by request, and you can visit the albums page of the PictoBooks website to explore all the options for yourself.

For the remainder of this post, we’ll be showing off photos of real PictoBooks albums that we’ve created for clients or as studio samples, with info on the album type and details. We start with the fanciest of our studio samples: a 12×12 PictoBooks Modello album with an embossed genuine leather cover in black, embellished with a metal name plate.

Photo of 12x12 Pictobooks Modello album with embossed leather cover and metal name plate owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of metal name plate on 12x12 Pictobooks Modello album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

This Modello album features our custom-designed style of page design. Under this style, we design each two-page spread from scratch so that every one is unique. Photo sizes can range from small to very large, and we sometimes even create multilayered layouts with small photos on top of large background photos. Other layouts feature photos on a clean black background. Custom cropping is common. Custom-designed albums generally require 2 photos per page. With a 20-page minimum, a custom-designed PictoBooks album will require at least 40 photos. A more common quantity is 40-60 photos, and we sometimes design albums containing over 100 photos!

Here are some of my favorite spreads from this album, ranging from the bride’s final preparations, to the wedding ceremony, bride and groom portraits, and late-reception partying. (If you were wondering, this amazing venue is the Weyerhaeuser Estate in Tacoma.)

Photo of first layout spread of 12x12 Pictobooks Modello album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of second layout spread of 12x12 Pictobooks Modello album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of third layout spread of 12x12 Pictobooks Modello album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of fourth layout spread of 12x12 Pictobooks Modello album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of fifth layout spread of 12x12 Pictobooks Modello album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of sixth layout spread of 12x12 Pictobooks Modello album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of seventh layout spread of 12x12 Pictobooks Modello album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of eighth layout spread of 12x12 Pictobooks Modello album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

This next album is an 8×10 PictoBooks Signature album, with a genuine leather-wrapped cover in ‘Sienna Chocolate’ embellished with a full-size cameo — a smooth, scratch-resistant photo plate created using a patent pending coating process that is unique to PictoBooks albums.

Photo of 8x10 Pictobooks Signature album with full-cover cameo owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of open spread in 8x10 Pictobooks Signature album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of another page spread in 8x10 Pictobooks Signature album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

The remainder of this post features PictoBooks Bijou series albums, which are by far our most popular albums. The reason is simple: Bijou albums are several hundred dollars cheaper than all the other PictoBooks album series, and there’s very little sacrifice in quality that accompanies those savings. Not to mention that some people prefer the synthetic leather and suede materials in the Bijou line to genuine cow leather!

Our first example is Javila and Stevo’s 10×10 Bijou wedding album, featuring a faux leather cover in ‘Mocha’ with a centered monogram. This is considered a standard cover option for the Bijou series, and it looked sharp! The third photo down shows the inner lining material inside the front and back covers.

Photo of 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with faux leather cover and centered monogram created by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of centered monogram on 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with faux leather cover created by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of inner page liner of 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album created by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Here are a few layouts from this album, which features our custom-designed style. For the third photo, you rotate the book 90 degrees to enjoy a magnificent 20×10 inch “centerfold” of the newlyweds.

Photo of open page layout in 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with faux leather cover and centered monogram created by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of another open page layout in 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with faux leather cover and centered monogram created by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of full-bleed vertical open page layout in 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with faux leather cover and centered monogram created by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Here’s the cover of Cynthia and Aaron’s 10×10 Bijou wedding album in ‘Claret’ faux leather, with a different centered monogram.

Photo of PictoBooks Bijou album with Claret faux leather cover and monogram owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of spine of PictoBooks Bijou album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Here’s Amy and BJ’s 8×10 Bijou wedding album. It has a faux leather cover in ‘Cinder’ with two features: cover branding with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date, and a custom-shaped cameo. We are able to design our cameos in any shape or size we want. I created this shape myself to echo the curve of the skyline around the tree. Simple squares and rectangles are also popular options. The cameo upgrade can only be added in place of a monogram to faux leather covers.

Photo of PictoBooks Bijou album with Cinder faux leather cover with text branding and a custom-shaped cameo owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Amy and BJ’s album also happens to be the first one in this post to showcase our simply-designed style of photo layouts. We’ve found that while most of our clients love how our custom-designed style provides a whole other artistic dimension for experiencing their photos, others find them to be “busy” and harder to appreciate each photo individually. In response, we developed our simply-designed style, in which we utilize a set of three basic page templates with white-bordered photos over a black background for every page. It’s a design style that emulates an older style of wedding album that was popular for decades before this new style of album came along.

You can see the three page templates on the two spreads below. First, there’s the large horizontal template, which takes advantage of that unbroken gutter to achieve a photo size larger than the pages themselves. Then you see the small horizontal pair and large vertical templates. Note that while the cost per photo is the same whether an album is custom-designed or simply-designed, the minimum cost of the simply-designed album is lower because it averages one photo per page, half that of the custom-designed style. Simply-designed albums need to be rectangular, which accommodates the photo layouts better than squares, so all simply-designed Bijou albums are 8×10 inches.

Photo of open simply-designed page spread in PictoBooks Bijou album showing the large horizontal template, owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of open simply-designed page spread in PictoBooks Bijou album showing the large vertical and two small horizontal templates, owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

This next Bijou album, of Melissa and Matthew’s wedding, is also in the simply-designed designed style, but with the standard centered monogram on a ‘Mink’ faux suede cover.

Photo of 8x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with faux suede cover and centered monogram created by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of centered monogram on 8x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with faux suede cover created by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of open simply-designed page spread in PictoBooks Bijou album showing the large vertical and two small horizontal templates, created by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of open simply-designed page spread in PictoBooks Bijou album showing the large horizontal template, created by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Kate and Adam’s 10×10 Bijou wedding album is wrapped in ‘Lagoon’ faux suede with a centered monogram.

Photo of 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with faux suede cover and centered monogram owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of centered monogram on 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with faux suede cover owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Carmel and Jimmy’s 10×10 Bijou wedding album in ‘Blue Moon’ faux suede has an upgraded full-cover monogram. Full-cover monograms are only available in faux suede, and do cost a little more than centered monograms.

Photo of 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with faux suede cover and full-cover monogram owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of full-cover monogram on 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with faux suede cover owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Here are the first five spreads in Carmel and Jimmy’s album. We start the album off with a breathtaking title page featuring one big 20×10 inch image of the newlyweds at dusk with the Seattle skyline behind. Then it’s two spreads of getting-ready candids. The first utilizes a background image — a detail shot of the door of Carmel’s getting-ready room with a painterly treatment that would be utterly useless except for this one perfect application. The second is a custom photo layout over black with some custom photo cropping. Spread four, of a flawlessly executed first look between the bride and groom, is another custom layout on black, and the fifth layout is a simple multilayered design with a 5×7 photo on top of a 20×10 photo.

Photo of first open page layout in 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of second open page layout in 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of third open page layout in 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of fourth open page layout in 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of fifth open page layout in 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Aside from the many different colors of faux leather and faux suede fabrics, the Bijou line has a few other great options. One is an unusual distressed metallic fabric that PictoBooks calls ‘Ice’. Here are a couple photos of Dawn and Jeremy’s 10×10 Bijou wedding album in the ‘Chrome’ Ice cover with a centered monogram.

Photo of 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with Ice fabric cover and centered monogram owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of centered monogram on 10x10 Pictobooks Bijou album with Ice fabric cover owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

And last but not least, here’s Julia and Miguel’s Bijou wedding album with a cover made of real metal. There are seven different metal options — this one is the ‘Metal Silver’ cover, and other metals include copper, gold, black and white. It has a ‘Charcoal’ leather spine and back. The centered monogram has a raised surface in black.

Photo of PictoBooks Bijou album with Metal Silver cover and Charcoal leather spine and back owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of PictoBooks Bijou album with Metal Silver cover showing monogram, owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

Photo of open page spread in PictoBooks Bijou album with Metal Silver cover and Charcoal leather spine and back owned by Wallflower Photography of Tacoma

We’ll end this presentation on PictoBooks albums by discussing the different options for parent albums. Albums for parents are usually duplicate copies of the original album designed for the bride and groom. Duplicate albums are available at significant discount because all the design work has already been completed.

  • The first option for parent albums is literally an exact copy of the original album. These are usually available at about half the cost of the original.
  • The second option is an exact copy of the original page designs, but with a different cover, and maybe even in a smaller size. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be the same album type — the newlyweds might have gotten a 12×12 Modello and their parents got 10×10 Bijou copies, for example. The pricing is about half the cost of the usual price of the album type selected.
  • The third option is what PictoBooks calls Companion Albums. These albums are either 8×8 (if the original was square) or 8×10 (if rectangular) with just five colors of faux leather to choose from, and a centered monogram. The pages are press printed onto a smooth paper surface, which is a different kind of printing than all other PictoBooks albums that have genuine photographic paper pages. The quality isn’t as good. On the other hand, the price is a lot lower!

We’ve intentionally left pricing out of this blog post to keep focused on the huge variety of options offered by PictoBooks albums, inside and out. If you’d like a look at our current product catalog, or a custom quote on a certain album type, just let us know and we’ll be happy to help!

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